I'm finishing a job at the moment - a couple of quick canvases. I enjoy the challenge of trying to work out the nuance of jobs like these - what it is I'm trying to achieve? After all these jobs are for other people - sure my eye and instinct are important - but I'm not the person at the end of the journey.
Much as I enjoy working on commission, or to a plan, I find that it's always when these occupy my time that my mind decides to kick up as many ideas as possible. Now is the time when this or that drawing springs to mind, when I see a sky that almost dances onto a canvas - rolling there for all to see; or something happens that properly reasonates, and right now the idea of illustrating some short stories for kids is tugging at my elbow - and it's really annoying.
My point is that imagination will out. The time I spend on craft and honing skill just makes the unpredictable and the unexpected try harder. So for all the hours I spend getting flesh tones exact, I correspond with images and doodles that spin off in wild tangents or awkward compositions. I muddy colours through hunch - and scratch away with a knife to reveal the kernel of an idea.
Much of my work is about the act of looking - of seeing a thing, a scene, a person in my way - through my understanding. With each brush stroke I etch away at the idea of what it was I saw.
When my head breaks free of this intense focus I see my pen start to dabble in the mechanics of what could be; see perspectives I can only try to represent on paper. It is a moment of excitement, but also one of deep frustration - waiting for a idea whose moment has not yet come.